AMD Archive

AMD details ThreadRipper, Epyc processors

At today's press conference, AMD has confirmed that the 16 core processor will for most purposes be half of an Epyc processor. This means that the two die MCM chip will feature 4 DDR4 channels and a whopping 64 lanes of PCIe, with all 64 lanes being enabled for all ThreadRipper SKUs. This will be broken up into 60+4: 60 lanes directly from the CPU for feeding PCIe and M.2 slots, and then another 4 lanes going to the chipset (with an undisclosed number of lanes then coming off of it) to drive basic I/O, USB, and other features. AMD seems to be particularly relishing the point on PCIe lanes in light of the yesterday's Intel HEDT announcement, which maxes out at 44 lanes and no chip below $1000 actually has all of them enabled.

All this competition.

AMD unveils the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition

So for today's AMD Financial Analyst Day, AMD has released a little bit more information as part of the next step of their campaign. The first Vega product to be released has a name, it has a design, and it has performance figures. Critically, it even has a release date. I hesitate to call this a full announcement in the typical sense - AMD is still holding some information back until closer to the launch - but we now finally have a clear picture of where the Vega generation kicks off for AMD.

Say hello to the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition.

First Ryzen, now Vega, with Ryzen 9 on the way. AMD is on a roll, and Intel is scrambling. Competition!

Intel still beats Ryzen at games, but how much does it matter?

Realistically, nobody should have expected Ryzen to be king of the hill when it comes to gaming. We know that Broadwell isn't, after all; Intel's Skylake and Kaby Lake parts both beat Broadwell in a wide range of games. This is the case even though Skylake and Kaby Lake are limited to four cores and eight threads; for many or most games, high IPC and high clock speeds are the key to top performance, and that's precisely what Kaby Lake delivers.

In spite of this, reading the various reviews around the Web - and comment threads, tweets, and reddit posts - one gets the feeling that many were hoping or expecting Ryzen to somehow beat Intel across the board, and there's a prevailing narrative that Ryzen is in some sense a bad gaming chip. But this argument is often paired with the claim that some kind of non-specific "optimization" is going to salvage the processor's performance, that AMD fans just need to keep the faith for a few months, and that soon Ryzen's full power will be revealed.

Both parts of this reaction are more than a little flawed.

I'm just glad there's finally competition in the desktop processor space again. Intel started to charge some outrageous prices these past few years, but if you wanted the best performance, you really didn't have much of a choice.

With Ryzen, AMD is showing the world it's back on track. It might not be there yet in every aspect, but it's an amazingly promising start.

AMD Zen and Ryzen reviews and benchmarks

The AMD Zen/Ryzen reviews and benchmarks are hitting the web (Ars has a review and a look at the Zen architecture, Tom's Hardware has a review, and there's bound to be more), but as always, the one you want is AnandTech's (they also have an interview with AMD's CEO):

For over two years the collective AMD vs Intel personal computer battle has been sitting on the edge of its seat. Back in 2014 when AMD first announced it was pursuing an all-new microarchitecture, old hands recalled the days when the battle between AMD and Intel was fun to be a part of, and users were happy that the competition led to innovation: not soon after, the Core microarchitecture became the dominant force in modern personal computing today. Through the various press release cycles from AMD stemming from that original Zen announcement, the industry is in a whipped frenzy waiting to see if AMD, through rehiring guru Jim Killer and laying the foundations of a wide and deep processor team for the next decade, can hold the incumbent to account. With AMD’s first use of a 14nm FinFET node on CPUs, today is the day Zen hits the shelves and benchmark results can be published: Game On!

Gaming performance seems to lag behind Intel, while for workstation tasks, it has them beat. For me, an upgrade to Ryzen from my i5-4440 would amount to a total sum of about €900 (processor, motherboard, RAM, and cooling), so I'm going to wait it out for now - especially since gaming is what my processor is most used for. That being said - give it a year, and Ryzen will be up there on all fronts with Intel's best, but at a lower price point.

AMD is definitely back, and I'm very excited to see what competition will bring to the market.

AMD launches Ryzen

AMD's benchmarks showed that the top Ryzen 7 1800X, compared to the 8-core Intel Core i7-6900K, both at out-of-the-box frequencies, gives an identical score on the single threaded test and a +9% in the multi-threaded test. AMD put this down to the way their multi-threading works over the Intel design. Also, the fact that the 1800X is half of the price of the i7-6900K.

If these promises and benchmarks hold up, Intel will be facing some incredibly tough competition on the desktop/laptop side for the first time in a long, long time.

AMD’s Jaguar microarchitecture

AMD claims that the microarchitectural improvements in Jaguar will yield 15% higher IPC and 10% higher clock frequency, versus the previous generation Bobcat. Given the comprehensive changes to the microarchitecture, shown in Figure 7, and the additional pipeline stages, this is a plausible claim. Jaguar is a much better fit than Bobcat for SoCs, given the shift to AVX compatibility, wider data paths, and the inclusive L2 cache, which simplifies system architecture considerably.

Some impressive in-depth reporting on the architecture which powers, among other things, the current generation of game consoles.

AMD to put ARM core on future Fusion APUs

"The Heterogeneous System Architecture Foundation is poised to 'define and promote an open, standards-based approach to heterogeneous computing that will provide a common hardware specification and broad support ecosystem to make it easier for software developers to deliver innovative applications that can take greater advantage of today's modern processors.' The HSA Foundation goes without Intel's support." Interesting.

AMD Exec Says DirectX Getting in the Way

"AMD worldwide developer relations manager of graphics Richard Huddy has blamed Microsoft's DirectX and its APIs for limiting the potential of GPUs in PCs. 'We often have at least ten times as much horsepower as an Xbox 360 or a PS3 in a high-end graphics card, yet it's very clear that the games don't look ten times as good. To a significant extent, that's because... DirectX is getting in the way.'"

AMD Releases Radeon HD 6000 Series Open Source Support

"On the same day that we learn VIA's Linux support is basically dead and after a troubling week for Intel with regards to open-source graphics support for their new Sandy Bridge CPUs, Advanced Micro Devices has come forward and released open-source graphics driver support for their AMD Radeon HD 6000 series of graphics cards."

Open-Source AMD Fusion Driver For Ontario Released

"While we are still waiting on open-source support for the AMD Radeon HD 6000 series of graphics cards that were released last month, today AMD is releasing their initial open-source support for their Ontario hardware. AMD's Ontario is their low-powered Fusion processor designed for use in netbooks and other such devices. This dual-core chip with integrated Radeon HD 6250 graphics is only starting to ship now, but the open-source support for this first AMD Fusion chip is now available to Linux users, complete with 3D support."

Open Source 2D, 3D for ATI Radeon HD 5000 Series GPUs

"AMD continues to abide by their commitment to provide open-source support for their graphics cards and as proof of that this afternoon they have released their initial hardware acceleration code that supports the ATI Radeon HD 5000 "Evergreen" family of consumer grade graphics processors. While this Evergreen support isn't yet finished and for the time being is targeted towards Linux developers and enthusiasts, you can now play around with your ATI Radeon HD 5000 graphics processor on an open-source driver while having 2D EXA, X-Video, and OpenGL acceleration."

Why AMD’s Notebook Prospects Are Looking up

"If you're looking for notebook power on the cheap and you're not too keen on either using Intel's integrated graphics or paying for a higher-performing, NVIDIA-made workaround (i.e., Optimus), then there's an obvious alternative mobile platform for you: AMD/ATI. AMD is gaining steam in the mobile space due to a combination of low cost and its ATI Radeon graphics solution, with Reuters reporting that the company will better than double the number of design wins this back-to-school season compared to a year ago."